Pearl River High School students promised to do their part to prevent bullying Wednesday.
During their lunch periods, they pledged to STOP (Support students, Teaching by example, Opening their eyes and Preventing bullying). Each student signed a link in a paper chain to signify his or her commitment. The chains will be hung in the school.
"It's wonderful to see so many students promoting respect for each other, especially at an age when peers can be very influential," said Sue Wheeler, Pearl River's Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.
The Pearl River Board of Education approved a new anti-bullying policy last summer. The policy was then included in the 2011-12 Code of Conduct that was approved by the school board July 6, 2011. All districts were required to adopt the policy by July 1, 2012. A letter went home to parents July of last year from Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Morgano explaining the reason for putting the policy in place a year ahead of the required date.
"Although the NYS Education Department does not require a new policy until July 1, 2012, we are instituting it now because we take the act of bullying very seriously," Morgano said. "The new requirement is part of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) that was singed by Governor Patterson in 2010."
Pearl River High School formed a DASA Committee in the fall. High School Assistant Principal Cindy Mantas chairs the committee, which includes members of the faculty, staff and students.
"The students on this committee have worked diligently all year to promote a bully-free environment in our school," Mantas said.
CANDLE (Community Awareness Network for a Drug-Free Life and Environment, Inc.) provided training for Pearl River High School faculty and staff which included effective means of recognizing and dealing with bullying.